By Marie Lasater
For the second year, the Old City Park in Licking was filled with old and young, coming from Licking and surrounding communities, to join in fellowship and worship. The Family Fun Night was coordinated by local Encounter Ministry Posts, and began at 5 p.m. May 5.
As hundreds of people filtered into the park, everyone enjoyed greeting old friends and new neighbors under the tall oaks. The weather was beyond perfect, and dozens of happy children were able to run and play with their friends prior to dinner and devotions. The new covered pavilion was set up with tables and chairs, and many families brought their own lawn chairs. The spirit of revival was in the air.
The evening began with an all-you-can-eat fish fry. Approximately 700 people were served, 200 more attendees than last year. Two hundred and twenty-five pounds of fish were fried, and fixings including homemade potato chips with fried onions, hush puppies, corn, pasta and broccoli casseroles, and a well-laden dessert table.
Guest speakers for the event were the founders of Encounter Ministries, Jeff and Sheila Brawley. The Brawley’s messages spoke of putting off the old man, and putting on the new man. Their daughter, Tiffany Cafton, then came forward with her compelling testimony of overcoming drugs, including methamphetamine, and how the Lord rescued her.
At the altar call, the first call was for those seeking salvation, then those with addictions of any kind, or parents of children with addictions or other problems. Dozens came forward to kneel at the straw bales set up at the front of the pavilion, and two people gave public professions of faith, wishing to be saved.
Encounter Ministry is non-denominational, and not meant to replace your home church. There are two ways to join the ministry, either the Men’s Encounter, or Ashes to Beauty for women by participating in the weekend encounter, or by attending a weekly Post Meeting. Even if you haven’t attended the weekend encounter, you are encouraged to attend a Post Meeting. In Texas County, Ashes to Beauty (women only) is held every Monday at 6:15 p.m. at Boone Creek Baptist Church with Lesly Holt-Richards serving as leader, and Men’s Encounter (men only) at 6 p.m. Mondays at WellSpring Church with Kaven Keller serving as leader.
Encounter Ministries Mission Statement:
“To Create an environment where Real People can come as they are regardless of their past or present circumstances. To build a community of Real People building authentic lifelong relationships with each other as they experience and grow in their personal relationship with Jesus through the truth of His word and the power of His Holy Spirit. To establish a culture where we are not divided by church background or denominations but where the love, grace and freedom found in Jesus is our focus.”